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I Bought HEPA Air Filtration for My Classroom

August 6, 2020

As part of my effort to control what I can in the face of so much COVID-19 unknown, today I purchased two HEPA (“high efficiency particulate air”) filtration machines for my classroom (I chose Okaysou AirMax8L for its reasonable price and for the square footage a single machine is able to filter multiple times per hour.)

Given the squre footage of my room (roughly 600 sq ft), the two units should be able to filter the entire room four to five times per hour.

My classroom has windows, but they do not open. Besides, the Louisiana climate does not often lend itself to comfortable, non-AC living. (I attended high school in Louisiana without AC, and we often had to move to an abbreviated, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. school day because of the sweltering afternoon heat and humidity.) Too, even though my classroom has a back door that I could leave open, doing so introduces safety concerns associated with a campus comprised of multiple buildings (and therefore, multiple entrances).

I do have two wall AC units, but these are not equiped with HEPA filtration.

I feel relief because of this purchase. Let me tell you why.

First of all, if it is safer to be outdoors during this pandemic, then quality filtering of indoor indoor air makes sense.

Second, even though my district is mandating that my high school students wear masks in class (exceptions must be approved by administration on a case-by-case basis), and since I am grounded in K12-teacher reality, I anticipate that I will encounter varied student resistance to doing so (i.e., masks under chin; masks over mouth but not nose; full-on mask defiance that requires disciplinary action). Having HEPA-filtered air in my room will lower the risk of viral spread as I contend with the inevitable degrees of noncompliant mask-wearing.

Third, knowing the air in my room is being filtered gives me confidence to remove my mask and face shield in order to eat lunch, which I usually do when I am alone in my classroom. (My plan prior to purchasing the air filtration was to leave my room and possibly eat lunch in my car out of concern for remaining in my room with my face unprotected.)

Yes, this air filtration is an expense out of my own pocket (and subsidized by my aunt and uncle, who are concerned about my return to school). But it does leave me feeling notably more comfortable about being in my own classroom, both for my sake and the sake of my students.

A notch on the side of confidence during COVID-19:

I’ll take it.

okaysouairmax8l

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6 Comments
  1. I hope you will require masks when students are in your classroom. Aerosols will be generated whenever kids talk. Masks will cut down on aerosols when kids talk. The research on particle transmission is gaining acceptance from medical researchers including Dr Fauci. All the best to you, Jack Hassard

    • Absolutely, Jack– masks still required.

      • Theo permalink

        I don’t know if you saw the report about a high school student at Paulding high school. She posted photos of corridors jammed full of students changing classes. Only 10% were wearing masks. She was suspended, but after a day was reinstated. I hope you don’t have similar situations. Kind regards, jack

  2. Michael Fiorillo permalink

    I wish you and your students all the best.

    That a teacher must pay for classroom mitigation (with so many remaining unknowns) during a pandemic, when decisions are often being made with little or no respect for science and public health, is just one pinpoint of the dysfunction and madness descending on the country.

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